February 18th, 2010
10:25 AM ET

In Kabul, doubts about the Marjah offensive

The biggest coalition offensive in Afghanistan since the Taliban were toppled is underway in Helmand Province, much of the action focused on the town of Marjah. 

U.S. officials are almost giddy over what they see, so far, as a successful operation. U.S. Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, normally the coolest of cucumbers, Wednesday declared to journalists at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul: "They will be studying this operation for years to come." 

Officials have been doing a lot of talking recently, about the goals of the mission, the tactics they will use, and their ambitious reconstruction and development plans for Marjah and adjacent areas once the fighting stops. They’re hesitant to declare this offensive as a turning point in the nine-year old struggle for Afghanistan, but you can sense a strong desire to do exactly that. 

Having gotten an earful from Holbrooke, it seemed a good idea to find out how Afghans are reacting to the fighting in Helmand.  FULL POST